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Avoid using the rude & expensive taxi service in Patmos

Clinton, Tennessee
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Avoid using the rude & expensive taxi service in Patmos

My family of four tendered off the ship and arrived at the dock in Patmos only to be taken advantage of by the very arrogant and sly operaters of the "only taxi service on the island". Knowing this, they took full advantage of all us tourists. I asked what it would cost for a tour of the island and they made up some kind story why they couldn't do it (now obvious that they wanted as many short runs up the hill & back to make their maximum $) but could take us to Saint John's cave, the monastery and drop us off in another town for 40 euros. They wouldn't budge off this price and actually got us for even more ($60) than the exchange rate because we only had US dollars with us. Short ride up a hill where they left us for an hour, came back and picked us up and took us another short distance up to the top of this same hill and dropped us off at the monastery. Came and picked us back up and instead of taking us to the other town as promised, took us right back down to the taxi stand. If this wasn't bad enough these drivers were all very rude from the start to us and acted as though they hated and resented even dealing with any of us. Our driver barely said five words to us and when my elderly father tried to politely ask him a question he just threw up his hand as if he was motioning "who cares" and didn't even answer him. He took our $60 US at the end and didn't even say thank you. We were in six different countries on this trip (including Egypt, Israel, Croatia, Turkey and Italy) and these taxi drivers were the rudiest and most unhelpful of any of these countries. For such a beautiful island, it's a shame these Greek residents had to leave us with such a bad and unwelcomed taste, especially since we came only as friendly visitors spending our dollars and helping their economy in the process.

Loughborough...
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1. Re: Avoid using the rude & expensive taxi service in Patmos

By no means all Greek taxi drivers speak enough English to carry on a conversation or have the confidence to try, though they understand enough to take you to where you want to go, hopefully.

This might be taken as rudeness if your have been led to expect a guided tour type experience.

They may well speak other European languages such as German or Italian though.

There are only two settlements of any size on Patmos, Chora the upper town which surrounds the monastery, and Skala the lower town, which is the port you arrived at. Many of the historic streets of Chora are pedestrian-only (too narrow) so not accessible to taxi tours , but this ought to nave been explained to you and enough time allowed for you to walk to and hrough them after visiting the monastery. There are also a couple of beaches with a few houses each, but nobody would call either of these towns. The total population of the island is only just over 3000, after all.

Sorry to hear you feel ripped off and insulted, though I do wonder what would happen if I turned up in the US as a tourist and tried to pay a taxi driver in euros or British pounds. Don't let this bad experience put you off Greece, it is a marvellous country with wonderfully friendly people, taxi drivers can be a problem in any country.

Edited: 02 June 2013, 19:55
La Herradura, Spain
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for Sharm El Sheikh
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2. Re: Avoid using the rude & expensive taxi service in Patmos

With the greatest of respect, why would you go to Patmos and try to pay in dollars instead of euros? I have been to Patmos several times since the late 80s and would not dream of offering them £s or anything other than euros.

Clinton, Tennessee
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3. Re: Avoid using the rude & expensive taxi service in Patmos

I had money converted to the foreign currency of six different counties before I left and wouldn't you know about everyone of these countries took and some actually preferred the US dollar over their own currency....I kid you not. Probably not the same way with the British pound, but even in Athens the clerks can easily do a US conversion right from their cash registers. In Egypt I tried to get rid of the Egyptian pounds I had in my pockets and the street vendors actually asked me for my US dollars over their pounds, even though I knew the conversion was 7 to 1 there. In Israel the gift shops had their items priced in US dollars. In Turkey I was billed, and paid for a $3,000 silk carpet in US dollars. Like it or not, it sure seems as if the US dollar is widely accepted and what does it actually matter how someone is being paid as long as they are being paid and can easily exchange it for their own currency? For your information though, I had run out of Euros after five days in Italy and the ATM in Patmos, for some odd reason, would not accept my card there so I had no alternative but to offer dollars to these drivers. You both are missing the entire point though, these taxi drivers acted like complete a-holes! If you like being treated that way then don't take my advise.

Warsaw, Poland
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4. Re: Avoid using the rude & expensive taxi service in Patmos

The US dollar is NOT widely accepted in EU countries. You should have done some research before setting off. USD is fully exchangeable and if someone needs USD they can walk into any exchange office and buy as much as they want. Some small businesses like taxis do except it but you are guaranteed to be quoted the most outrageous exchange rate they can get away with to compensate them for the inconvenience of having to go exchange it back to euro (or other local currency).

Bristol, United...
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for Messenia Region, Laconia Region, Magnesia Region
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5. Re: Avoid using the rude & expensive taxi service in Patmos

"they wanted as many short runs up the hill & back to make their maximum $)". Well obviously! They have a living to earn, and that is how they earn it. Why would they want to act as a tour guide for you, which is not what they do? And if you then insisted in paying in US currency, which is not usual and gives them the hassle of going to a bank to exchange it, I expect they did get a bit irritated.

Also I do wonder if there were some cultural differences in play here. Greeks are proud, independent people especially the islanders and they do not have the kind of service culture you get in the USA or other places where service providers are fake-friendly and super attentive in expectation of a huge tip. Normal Greek conversational style can appear gruff or even aggressive to foreigners. The gesture you describe of wordlessly throwing up the hands is a common one to indicate "no" or "I don't know". I'm guessing this driver did not speak much English apart from the few phrases needed by a taxi driver, so he was quite possibly indicating this.

La Herradura, Spain
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6. Re: Avoid using the rude & expensive taxi service in Patmos

It's somewhat arrogant to assume that everyone will accept dollars and then have to take time to go and change them. Why not just go into the bank/ change office in Patmos and change your dollars into euros?

It's quite likely that this taxi driver didn't speak much English so he wasn't being rude but was indicating he didn't understand. Patmos is not a particularly touristy island so many don't speak English.

I have actually used taxis in Patmos on several visits and found them to be courteous but I can speak a little Greek.

Hamburg, Germany
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7. Re: Avoid using the rude & expensive taxi service in Patmos

It never fails to amaze me that tourists come to Patmos and expect to pay everything in US Dollar and that everybody speaks English. Maybe people should realize, that Greece is not part of the United Staes.

I agree Taxis on Patmos are not cheap. The short run from Skala to Kambos, were our house is located, costs Euro 6.50. But gasoline is Euro 1.90 a liter and if the driver needs to get their car serviced (at least the newer Mercedes taxis) they have to bring it by ferry to Athens (8hours). So I would expect taxis to be a bit more expensive than in Oklahoma City.

S

Loughborough...
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8. Re: Avoid using the rude & expensive taxi service in Patmos

I don't think the large number of cruise ships that call at Patmos helps to improve things. They often don't stay long enough for anything beyond rushing the passengers up to the cave and the monastery, back down again, a quick walk in Skala and back on board. This doesn't exactly do much for the local economy.

While I've never met anything other than helpful and friendly people on Patmos, they do get even nicer once they realise you're actually staying a few nights on their island.

So on my visit to the Monastery and Chora, I used the regular island bus service going up, complete with apology from the driver for having to wait to collect a group of children from the school, walked through the streets of Chora and stopped there for lunch, then used the path to walk down again. Cruises just aren't organised to allow their passengers to do things like that.

Better cruises do at least stay long enough to allow passengers to spend an evening ashore as well so they can see what a small Greek island town is like when the heat of the day is over and the local people come out to shop, eat drink and enjoy themselves.

Newmarket, United...
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for Antiparos
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9. Re: Avoid using the rude & expensive taxi service in Patmos

Dollars are much sought after in countries with weak currencies, as I've found in Africa and you've discovered in Egypt, Israel, and Turkey. That's not the case in the eurozone, where you are expected to pay in €.

I managed to resist the silk carpet temptation on a trip to India, where they also priced their carpets in $. You don't really know whether you got a good deal or not until you compare prices for similar items when you get back to the US.

10. Re: Avoid using the rude & expensive taxi service in Patmos

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